After a tough year, Paul Spain decided to give parkrun a try after not running for nearly thirty years. Paul explains how each year has brought with it, an added understanding of parkrun…
I did my first parkrun on January 8 2016. It was terrible. Every step an agony. But I did it. The year that had just ended was one of the most difficult in my life. A year of falling apart. A year of painful endings. A year I was happy to have behind me. What’s another year? Well, my hope was that 2016 would be a better year and starting it with a parkrun seemed like a good idea.
It had been almost thirty years since I had run on a regular basis. 5k sounded a modest target and my hope was that I could get around the two and a half laps of the Nass Racecourse without stopping and embarrassing myself. I put my head down and went for it. There were about 80 others that morning and a very encouraging team of volunteers. But I was in my own world. Full of stress, anxiety and uncertainty. I didn’t really connect with them but the experience of running again rekindled an old treasure deep inside of me. The joy of running.
January 2017. What’s another year? In my first year I completed 35 parkruns, I bagged a fistful of PBs and I became a regular. I even volunteered four times. My stress and anxiety had abated a bit – but not that much. Despite my beloved runs I was still struggling.
January 2018. I started to understand parkrun. I learnt that approaching every run as a time trial was not the best strategy. I learnt that volunteering was a new and real joy. I learnt that parkrun offered me new friends and a real community experience. My physical, psychological and emotional wellbeing continued to improve and parkrun became a key part of my new life. Oh, and during 2018 I achieved a PB and earned my black T shirt celebrating my 100 parkruns.
January 2019. A couple of weeks ago I was the joint tail walker and I completed my slowest parkrun yet! It was glorious. I walked in the company of my parkrun pal Brian. A wise and compassionate man. We swapped stories, shouted words of encouragement to others and had a great laugh. My Saturday mornings are a highlight of my week.
What’s another year? This year I plan to run, walk and volunteer. I hope to achieve at least one more PB, to participate in other parkruns and make new friends. parkrun is now part of my family and my family is part of parkrun. Thank you parkrun.
Caroline Kennedy tells us about the integral part Templemore parkrun has played in her cancer recovery journey, and breaking that 35 minute barrier. On the last weekend in June 2017, I became very ill and was given a bowel cancer diagnosis just a few weeks later. The chemotherapy followed, culminating in me undergoing extensive surgery…
Name: Brighid Smyth Age: 54 Occupation: Head of Corporate Communication, Vhi Local parkrun: St Anne’s parkrun Number of parkruns completed: 83 in 16 locations How did you get involved in parkrun? I ran my first parkrun on the 28 September 2013. At the time I was training for the 2013 Dublin City Marathon…